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In 2014, petitioner-appellant Jeremy Wheeler was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine. Due to prior convictions of a similar nature, he was also charged with being a persistent violator. Wheeler filed a motion to suppress evidence that was denied by the district court. Consistent with Idaho Criminal Rule 11(e), Wheeler completed a written plea advisory form in 2015. There, he indicated that he was entering a conditional guilty plea, reserving his right to appeal the issue of his “motion to surpress [sic].” He appeared before the district court the next day and entered his guilty plea to the charge of possessing methamphetamine in exchange for dismissal of another criminal matter and the persistent violator allegation. Wheeler was sentenced to serve seven years, with three years fixed, and the district court retained jurisdiction for one year. On August 13, 2015, the district court relinquished jurisdiction at Wheeler’s request. Wheeler’s trial counsel filed a notice of appeal on September 14, 2015, purporting to challenge both the denial of Wheeler’s motion to suppress and his sentence. The State Appellate Public Defender (“SAPD”) was appointed to represent Wheeler on appeal. Wheeler’s SAPD attorney informed him that his appeal from the denial of the motion to suppress was untimely and recommended that Wheeler file a petition for post-conviction relief alleging ineffective assistance of trial counsel for failing to timely appeal from the denial of his motion to suppress. Wheeler filed a pro se petition for post-conviction relief. The State moved for summary dismissal of the petition. The district court granted the motion, finding that Wheeler’s claim that trial counsel had failed to timely appeal the denial of the motion to suppress was groundless. Wheeler timely appealed. The State conceded that the district court erroneously dismissed Wheeler’s petition for post-conviction relief based upon his then-pending direct appeal, and because the Idaho Supreme Court found there was a genuine issue of material fact as to the alternative ground for affirmance posited by the State, the Court vacated the district court’s order dismissing Wheeler’s petition for post-conviction relief and remanded for further proceedings. View "Wheeler v. Idaho" on Justia Law

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Rocky and Delores Fletcher (“the Fletchers”) appealed a district court judgment in which they sought a declaratory judgment outlining the rights and responsibilities of property owners in the Twin Lakes Meadows Subdivision (“Subdivision”) with respect to a private road known as Lone Mountain Road (“Subdivision Road” or “the Road”). The district court determined that the Subdivision’s Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (“CC&Rs”) were ambiguous and contrary to Idaho easement law. After finding that the CC&Rs were ambiguous, the district court declared that all lot owners who used the Road had the right to make reasonable repairs to the Road. The Fletchers argued on appeal the district court erred when it found the CC&Rs to be ambiguous and that they should be strictly applied. The Fletchers also argued the district court erred when it failed to declare that dust from the Road created an additional burden on their servient estate and by failing to declare that the Lone Mountain Road Association had no right to maintain the Road or to collect assessments. The Idaho Supreme Court reversed the district court as to its findings that the CC&Rs were ambiguous and there was a waiver of the right to obtain contributions from lot owners that do not use the Road. The Court affirmed the district court’s judgment that road dust did not create an additional burden on the Fletchers’ estate. View "Fletcher v. Lone Mountain Rd Assoc" on Justia Law

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Jane Doe (“Mother”) and John Doe (“Father”) were married for twenty-five years and had eleven children between three years of age and twenty-two years of age. In March 2015, the family moved to Spirit Lake, Idaho, to become members of another religious community. The oldest daughter, who was then fourteen years of age, disclosed to that community that Father had sexually molested her when she was a child, starting when she was four or five years of age and ending when she was fourteen; that when she was six, seven, or eight years of age, she told Mother, but Mother did nothing to protect her; and that when she was twelve years of age, the molestation became less frequent as Father began sexually molesting a younger sister who was six years of age. Members of that community encouraged Father to confess to law enforcement, and he and Mother went to the county sheriff’s office and confessed to sexually molesting two of his daughters while they lived in Washington state. Because the offenses did not occur in Idaho, he was not arrested. Members of the community met with Father and Mother and developed with them a plan to protect the other children from Father sexually molesting them. Father and Mother violated the provisions in the plan, and a member of the community contacted the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (“Department”). The visit ultimately led to charges against Father, in which he pled guilty and was sentenced to ten years in prison and a lifetime of supervision. The Department filed a petition to terminate Father’s and Mother’s parental rights in their minor children. After a two-day evidentiary hearing, the magistrate court found that the Department had proved by clear and convincing evidence that there were grounds for terminating the parental rights of Father and Mother in their minor children. It entered judgments terminating the parental rights of both parents, and they timely appealed. Finding that substantial and competent evidence supported the termination decision, and that termination was in the best interests of the children, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Re: Termination of Parental Rights" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was the modification of a default judgment requiring that the parents of a child rotate custody of their three-year-old child every three weeks. The father lived in Blackfoot; the mother lived out of state in Oceanside, California (913 miles away). The Idaho Supreme Court held that the magistrate court abused its discretion in ordering that custody rotation. In addition, the mother had moved to modify the judgment by default, but did not move to set aside the entry of default. The Supreme Court held that the father waived the default by litigating the motion to modify. View "Martinez v. Carrasco" on Justia Law

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The Bingham County District Court affirmed a ruling by the Idaho Department of Water Resources denying the City of Blackfoot’s (City) application for a water right to be offset by mitigation through another water right. The district court ruled that the Department was correct in ruling that latter right could not be used for groundwater recharge without an approved transfer application and could not be used as mitigation for former right until such transfer was approved. The City appealed. Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "City of Blackfoot v. Spackman" on Justia Law

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Whitney Bright appealed the grant of summary judgment to Roman and Natalya Maznik. The Mazniks owned property who leased an apartment to James and Katherine Thomas, owners of a Belgian Shepherd. When Bright visited the Thomas’ apartment in an effort to collect on a debt, the Thomas’ dog attacked her. Bright then lodged a complaint against the Mazniks, alleging various tort claims arising from the attack. The district court granted the Mazniks’ motion for summary judgment, finding the Mazniks owed no duty to protect Bright from the Thomas' dog. Therefore, the district court's grant of summary judgment on Bright's tort claims was proper, and the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Bright v. Maznik" on Justia Law

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Travis Forbush and Gretchen Hymas, individually and as natural parents of McQuen Forbush and Breanna Halowell (Appellants), appealed the grant of summary judgment to Respondents Sagecrest Multifamily Property Owners’ Association, Inc., and its President, Jon Kalsbeek. Forbush and Halowell were overnight guests of a tenant who leased a unit at the Sagecrest Apartment Complex (Sagecrest). During the night, hazardous levels of carbon monoxide filled the unit, killing Forbush and injuring Halowell. Appellants brought tort claims against Respondents after the incident. Appellants contended the district court erred by granting summary judgment to the POA because triable issues of fact surrounded whether the POA: (1) owed a premises liability-based duty of care; (2) owed a duty of care it acquired as a result of voluntary undertakings; and (3) was vicariously liable for First Rate Property Management's (FRPM - the POA's contract maintenance) conduct. The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the district court’s summary judgment order. The Court affirmed that summary judgment was proper as to whether the POA owed a premises liability-based duty of care. However, summary judgment was improper as to whether the POA and Kalsbeek acquired a duty of care as a result of voluntary undertakings, and whether the POA was vicariously liable for FRPM’s conduct. View "Forbush & Hymas v. Sagecrest POA" on Justia Law

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In 1981, a jury found Randy McKinney guilty of first degree murder (both by premeditated killing and by felony murder), conspiracy to commit murder, robbery, and conspiracy to commit robbery for the April 1981 shooting death of Robert Bishop, Jr. In 1982, the district court sentenced McKinney to death for first degree murder, an indeterminate thirty years for conspiracy to commit murder and conspiracy to commit robbery, and fixed life for robbery. In 1997, McKinney filed a petition for habeas corpus in federal district court, and in 2009, the court ruled that he was not entitled to any relief related to the guilt phase of his state case but that he was entitled to resentencing because of the ineffective assistance of his attorney at the capital sentencing hearing. Rather than appealing the court’s decision, the State and McKinney entered into a binding sentencing agreement titled “Rule 11 Sentencing Agreement” in which they agreed that McKinney would “be sentenced to a term of fixed life without the possibility of parole for the crime of first-degree murder, concurrent with his sentences for conspiracy to commit murder, robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery.” McKinney was sentenced in accordance with the plea agreement. In 2010, McKinney filed a motion pursuant to Idaho Criminal Rule 35 to correct an illegal sentence, contending that being sentenced for both robbery and first-degree murder was barred by the state and federal double jeopardy clauses and a multiple-punishment statute that was in effect when he committed the crimes. This motion was denied. Then in 2013, McKinney moved for post-conviction relief; the State moved to dismiss this petition. The district court found no genuine issue of material fact alleged, and dismissed the petition. McKinney appealed that dismissal, but finding no error in that judgment, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "McKinney v. Idaho" on Justia Law

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In September 2012, the State charged Flores with one felony count of eluding a peace officer. Flores pled guilty to the charge. A judgment of conviction was entered, and Flores was sentenced to five years: a three-year determinate period of confinement followed by a two-year indeterminate period of confinement. The execution of the sentence was suspended and Flores was placed on probation for four years. The probation was revoked and the original sentence reinstated. However, execution of the sentence was again suspended and Flores was placed on probation again for two years. This probation was revoked and execution was suspended, during which time the district court retained jurisdiction over Flores. Roughly four months after the district court retained jurisdiction, the North Idaho Correctional Institution (NICI) filed an addendum to the presentence investigation report (NICI’s report), informing the district court that NICI had classified Flores as a security risk and removed him from the NICI facility. NICI’s report detailed Flores’s misconduct and gang-oriented behavior and recommended that the district court relinquish jurisdiction. The district court followed NICI’s recommendation and relinquished jurisdiction. Flores moved the district court to reinstate jurisdiction so that he could complete his retained jurisdiction program. The district court denied Flores’s motion. Flores appealed, but finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed. View "Idaho v. Flores" on Justia Law

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The State of Idaho appeals from the district court’s order suppressing evidence against Victor Garcia-Rodriguez. On April 10, 2014, Garcia-Rodriguez was pulled over after an Idaho State Police trooper witnessed Garcia-Rodriguez’s car briefly cross over the fog line while exiting Interstate 84. Approximately 75 minutes after the stop, police arrested Garcia-Rodriguez for failure to purchase a driver’s license. Otto conducted a search incident to arrest and found methamphetamine in Garcia-Rodriguez’s front pants pocket. This stop ultimately led to Garcia-Rodriguez’s arrest. Garcia-Rodriguez was charged with trafficking in methamphetamine and possession of paraphernalia. Garcia-Rodriguez filed a motion to suppress the evidence, which the district court granted. The Idaho Supreme Court found based on the evidence and testimony presented, the district court concluded that police did not have reasonable grounds to arrest Garcia-Rodriguez pursuant to Idaho Code section 49-1407 for the misdemeanor charge of driving without a license. Accordingly, the Court affirmed the district court's suppression order. View "Idaho v. Garcia-Rodriguez" on Justia Law